New Trout Regulations Being Proposed! Please Read and Respond:
After a couple of public workshops that were recently conducted by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, 7 new regulation changes have been proposed. These regulations are scheduled to be voted on by the commission in November and implemented January 1, 2018. These proposed regulations are currently open to public comment. Each of the proposed regulations are listed below along with my opinion of it. I appreciate your consideration of each regulation and opinion and invite you to make your opinion known as well by going to the public opinion survey found at https://survey.agfc.com/index.php?r=survey/index&sid=189717&lang=en.
- Restrict harvest of large trout on Bull Shoals and Norfork Tailwaters to one fish per day over 14 inches.
PROBLEM: Having 4 different length limit requirements on 4 different species is already difficult for the first-time angler or even the once-a-year angler of the White River to get right. This adds another requirement that over-rides all the other length limit requirements. This will be confusing and will not be managed correctly by many people.
- Reduce daily creel limits of Cutthroat Trout on Bull Shoals and Norfork Tailwaters from two fish per day to one fish per day and increase minimum length limits from 16 to 24 inches.
SUPPORT: Rarely are cutthroat of any reasonable size even caught in this area, much less one over 16 inches. This simplifies the regulation by treating Cutthroats the same as Browns.
- Reduce daily creel limits of Brook Trout on Bull Shoals and Norfork Tailwaters from two fish per day to one fish per day.
SUPPORT: As with the Cutthroat Trout, it is rare to find even one Brook that is close to the 14 inches limit. Keeping only one Brown, Cutthroat, or Brook makes the regulations more consistent.
- Enact a five fish per day, one trout over 14 inch, regulation for Rainbow Trout on Bull Shoals and Norfork Tailwaters.
PROBLEM: This proposal is very similar to the first proposal except that this only applies to Rainbows while the first proposal applies to all trout species. (Is that confusing?) More and more Rainbows in the 14 and 15 inch size are being found in this area than in previous years. This is also the size most anglers would want to keep. Many people come here because of the better size that can be caught and kept than on other rivers. I can’t imagine a guide telling a customer “Great catch, but we already have 1 rainbow over 14 inches so now we have to catch more small fish! Let’s throw some more corn out here.” Keep the regulation simple and the young anglers happy! The Rainbow Trout have been managed for put-and-take and there are plenty of them. Let’s keep it that way!
- Restrict the number of hooking points when using bait to one hooking point on Bull Shoals and Norfork Tailwaters.
SUPPORT: Treble hooks are just trouble. This will help prevent mortality of fish due to a treble hook getting caught in the fish’s throat. This does not affect lures that have treble hooks, only bait fishing such as with dough baits or chicken livers.
- Remove Monkey Island Catch-and-Release area on Bull Shoals Tailwater.
SUPPORT: This area is a long ways downriver and has no impact on us at all. It has been reported that it is not effective for producing larger fish anyway.
- Extend the length of the Rim Shoals Catch-and-Release area approximately two miles downstream on Bull Shoals Tailwater
OPPOSE: This section of restricted water is in the middle of a 14 mile stretch between Cotter and Buffalo City that is very popular with many family float fishing trips. The current length of the Rim Shoals Catch-and-Release area is about 1 mile. This would add 2 more miles to this protected area. Adding this much to the catch-and-release would reduce the amount of fishable water by 20% for anglers that are bait fishing, primarily the families that will be the future of fishing on the White River.
Please let the Game and Fish Commission know your opinion of these proposed changes. To give your opinion, go to www.SURVEY.AGFC.COM and chose the link titled “2018 Fall Fishing Regulations Proposals Public Comment Survey”.